Home Generator Service

Home Generator Service

Home Generator Service Testing is a Must for Any Owner

When you purchase a backup generator for your home, you should periodically test it to ensure it’s working properly, or have it tested regularly by a home generator service. A generator that fails to work when you need it the most is useless.

How often should you test it? As a general rule, experts recommend once a month. Some generators automatically run each month at a certain time and date. In the end, this is the optimal way to test your system. However, a generator’s test-run specifications may differ from one manufacturer to another; therefore, always refer to your manufacturer’s instruction manual for proper guidance.

You can go one step further. To ensure you’re prepared for all-weather emergencies and power outages, responsible homeowners schedule maintenance visits by a local certified technician well ahead of time. The peace of mind that comes with having an expert maintain your emergency generator monthly or quarterly by testing in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations will prepare you for any electrical disaster.

It’s not just about checking whether the generator works, but whether it will work at high levels. A generator’s fuel consumption will decrease over time if it hasn’t been used too often, resulting in excess carbon being trapped in the rings, turbos, injectors, and exhaust systems. Running the generator often through a load bank test at different loads can reduce wet stacking, where tiny amounts of unburned fuel pass into the exhaust system.


Pre-Steps, Whether You Use a Home Generator Service or Not

Just for example, let’s assume you take care of the scheduling yourself instead of using a home generator service. Or, you conduct a random test just for kicks. In the control panel, there’s a feature indicating whether the testing cycle has been initiated and completed successfully. However, you may need a repair specialist to take a look if you don’t see the familiar green-light pattern.

Cut off electricity from the main breaker to your home. If your generator doesn’t kick on automatically, it’s a sign the unit probably needs maintenance or repair. This is also true if it fails to power up when you flip a manual switch. Your generator can lose battery power over the long term if it sits unused or isn’t tested regularly. This is similar to a car sitting in a garage that’s never driven.


Prolonging the Life of Your Generator

However, there is a way you can prolong the life of your generator and reduce repair or maintenance costs. You can test it regularly by either an expert or yourself. You might not be home when your generator begins its monthly diagnostic cycle that you or your local home generator service technician scheduled This depends on whether your unit has automatic testing features.

Performing a generator load bank test is as simple as turning the generator off, connecting it to your load bank, turning it back on, performing a test, and then removing it from the load bank. (See below for explicit instructions on how to do this.) You can also analyze performance and test its efficiency at different levels.

Load bank testing simulates real-scenario usage of your generator at the manufacturer’s rating, verifying all primary components are functioning properly under loaded conditions. Overall, it determines how well your generator handles specific electrical load situations. Your load bank’s user interface displays various indicators that you should understand. One of them is the light that shows if the unit is overheating, which is good to keep an eye on the entire time.


How a Load Bank Test is Accurately Performed

So how would any homeowner or home generator service technician perform a generator load test safely and accurately? First, turn off the generator and make sure the breaker is open.


  • The generator should be turned on. Before testing, you must ensure its temperature has stabilized after it’s been turned on. User interfaces and your manual typically will provide instructions. Following a stable temperature reading, record the initial measurements at 25 percent loading capacity. This is also a good time to ensure the load bank is connected and functioning correctly, and that there are no negative indicators on your user interface.
  • Perform the right individual tests. Step-through tests are performed at various loading percentages. Some homeowners or hired maintenance technicians connect the generator to a variable dummy load, which can be increased incrementally from 25 percent to 50 percent, and then to 75 percent and eventually 100 percent. Your manufacturer’s specifications will determine the specifics. To ensure your generator can operate through its entire range, you can run it at full load for 10 to 30 minutes more. Make sure you record the following measurements for each step: Frequency, battery voltage, oil pressure, amperage, coolant temperature, power factor, ambient temperature, kilowatt power, exhaust temperature, and load percentage.
  • The load bank should be removed Open your breaker’s power and allow the generator and load bank to cool down for five minutes after disconnecting the three phases from the generator’s breaker.


Home Generator Service Tests: Level 1 and Level 2 Units

By the manufacturer’s guidelines, local regulations, and recommendations by a qualified home generator service, perform load bank tests. In fact, someone must perform them once the generator is commissioned. Depending on what climate and locality the generator is installed, you may need to conduct load tests more often. However, once a month is usually the standard for most regions and neighborhoods.

Backup generators fall into two category levels according to the National Fire Protection Association: Level 1 and Level 2. Critical life applications rely on Level 1 generators to supply backup power and be available at all times. That means the load banks they use must also be tested under the most stringent conditions. In contrast, generators having loads that are less critical to human safety and life are Level 2 generators.

Experts recommend that either you or a professional perform load testing at least once a month. This includes any related maintenance. Experts expect an annual load test at 75 to 80 percent for less mission-critical generators (Level 2). However, home backup generators can fall into either the Level 1 or Level 2 categories. Their categorization depends on your household’s situation.

In most preventative maintenance plans, a quick weekly physical inspection of the entire outside of the unit is also recommended.


Investing in a Maintenance Plan Ensures Proper Care

A detailed maintenance agreement offered by a local home generator service company can usually provide homeowners varying levels of service to choose from. Technicians are highly trained and knowledgeable and available at convenient times during any given week.

If you don’t already own a home backup generator and plan on buying one, you may want to consider including a maintenance plan with your purchase. It can reduce the amount of money you pay for emergency repairs over the long term.

On a side note, the economic benefits of investing in a whole-house backup generator depends on several factors, including the frequency of outages in your area, the cost of fuel, cost of repairs and maintenance, and your potential losses due to outages. Food spoilage can be reduced, weather damage prevented, medical requirements met, home-business continuity maintained, and your property’s value is enhanced.

When immediately called upon, a home backup generator must be able to function without any hassles. To ensure your generator will function when needed, load bank tests must be regularly scheduled. Testing your generator’s load capacity is an essential part of maintaining its condition, ensuring it will perform as expected.


W. Danley Electrical

At W. Danley Electrical, we assist you throughout the entire process — from helping you prepare for installation, repair, and maintenance to anything else surrounding your home generator service, as well as obtaining permits, inspections, and much more. We help you optimize and fine-tune your situation so you get the most out of your investment, as well as determine the correct generator size.

Contact us today.